Friday’s Tall Tales #21

Whenever I photograph a door or gate I wonder about its provenance, who and what has happened across said door or gate. I thought I might pick one from #Thursdaydoors and tell you a bit more about it or……maybe even weave a story about it.

This is the entrance to the Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur church, also known as the Gesù church, which is a Baroque-style 17th century Catholic church built by the Jesuits as the chapel of their college in Nice’s Old Town.

In 1603 a wealthy merchant from Nice settled in Rome, on the advice of Saint Philippe Néri, donated a large sum of money for the construction of a Jesuit college in Nice. The Jesuits decided on a house near the communal mill, opening the college in 1607.

They then set about acquiring neighbouring properties and their church’s first stone was laid in 1612. The church was nicknamed the Chiesetta and dedicated to Saint-Nom-de-Jésus and Saint Just.  

To enlarge their church, the Jesuits acquired the neighbouring property and work began in 1642 and it was completed in 1650. The similarities of the new church with those of Escarène and the Sainte-Réparate cathedral allow it to be attributed with near certainty to architect Jean-André Guiberto.  

Eglise Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur dite du Gésu

In 1651, two family chapels were built in the church by Senator Blancardi and Jean-Baptiste Fabri.

After the abolition of the Order of Jesuits by Pope Clement XIV, the Jesuits were expelled in 1773, the college and the church were acquired by the Bishop of Nice and in 1802 its name was changed to Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur. 

Eglise Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur dite du Gésu

The church has been classified  as a historical monument since October, 1971.


10 Comments on “Friday’s Tall Tales #21

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